5 top tips to take care of our home planet while saving money.
It’s Earth Day! (and if you’re reading this after April 22nd, it can still be Earth Day. 😉 Our little home is worth celebrating every day of the year.) So we just wanted to pop in and give you some simple tips of how you can better care for planet Earth.
Depending on your level of commitment to and interest in sustainability, you probably have heard these before. If that is you, I challenge you do check yourself as you read. Are you actually acting on the advice you are hearing? Because we can talk shop all day long, but if we don’t change our actions, we aren’t really helping.
I won’t spend time convincing you that climate change is real and our action is required. But if you need convincing of that fact, read this (and this and this for other reasons to do our part to keep our planet clean). It is ultimately imperative that we take action to undo the damage our species has done to this planet. If you have any financial privilege at all, this is your responsibility (I’m also talking to myself here).
Ya’ll, these are NOT difficult things to do. Nor are they very expensive. In fact, it’s likely cheaper for you to take better care of the earth.
So here are our top tips.
Only 10% of Indianapolis households subscribe to curbside recycling. The national average is 35%. Come on. We can do better, Indy. The whole country can certainly do better, but we are way behind here. It costs $99 a year to get curbside recycling in Indianapolis. That comes down to $8.25 a month. If you can afford Netflix, you can afford to recycle. This is not shame, it’s conviction.
Live in an apartment? Contact the property manager and let them know recycling is important to you. Do some research beforehand so you can provide resources for them if you really want to look like a pro. You can also drop off your recyclables at a community bin, but let’s be real, most of us just aren’t that good. We need a sustainable lifestyle to be easy and simple if we’re going to stick with it.
2. Eat a few meatless meals.
Meat products have larger carbon footprints per calorie than grain or vegetable products because of the inefficient transformation of plant energy to animal energy. Meat is responsible for almost half the greenhouse gas emissions of food industries. If we all swapped one meaty meal for a meatless meal each week, we could make a huge impact. Plus, vegetables are cheaper. So you can save enough to cover your recycling cost. 😉If you are a nerd like me and want more data check out this and this.
For some delicious vegetarian meal ideas check this blog out.
3. Sign up for your local green energy programs
Indianapolis residents can sign up (through IPL) for Green Power, allowing you to specify that your energy usage will be taken from sustainable power sources (you can select a percentage). Selecting that 100% of your home’s energy come from renewable energy only adds about $2.50 to your electric bill (although it might be less, depending on your actual energy usage).
Everyone should be doing this, it’s the most obvious decision.
4. Stop using single-use items (especially plastic ones).
Think straws, plastic lids, styrofoam cups, to-go boxes (anything that you throw away after one use). Sometimes you just have to order takeout. I get that. Life is crazy and you have to eat. (Although this is a privilege that we must acknowledge, but that’s another topic for another time). While you may not be able to realistically eliminate single-use items, it just takes a little bit of planning to significantly decrease your dependency on them. Get yourself a good water bottle and travel mug (you can get these for $5-50 depending on how fancy and what brand). Some coffee shops even give you a discount for bringing your own cup (Starbucks gives you $0.05 off).
Bring reusable grocery bags to the store. Most of us have some of them, it just takes a bit of intentionality to create a habit of bringing them into the store. My best trick? Keep a bunch of them in your car so you always have them with you. Some stores give a discount for bringing your own bags as well! (Whole Foods gives a $0.05 discount).
Just say no to straws. You don’t need them. But if you must, there are a lot of cute reusable straws out there. We’re obsessing over this one because, let’s be real, it can be annoying to clean a straw.
Plastic isn’t biodegradable, so if you must use single-use items, opt for paper or cardboard.
With a little bit of planning and habit building, you’ll be a pro at saying “no” to single use. You literally just have to start. Be intentional for 3 weeks, and you’ll hardly have to think about it after that.
5. Buy better, buy less.
The average household in the U.S. spends $1800 on clothing a year. That’s $150/month. Many people use the high cost of sustainable and ethical clothing as a reason they can’t switch over. But for many people, it’s not an issue of having the finances to purchase ethical clothing, it’s just a matter of adjusting our expectation of how many new clothes we actually need to purchase. Purchasing clothing with natural fibers (organic when possible) lowers the carbon emissions of your fashion choices. Locally made items also lowers the environmental impacts of transporting garments in the supply chain. See our post on the basics of ethical shopping for more.
And there you have it. We’ve been mentioning the cost of things throughout, so here’s a bit of a breakdown. Sustainable/ethical clothing not included because I truly believe most people will break even just by buying fewer, though more expensive items. Also, you can get reusable grocery bags free at many places, so I haven’t included them in here. The conclusion? You can save $32 a year by switching to a better-for-our-planet lifestyle. There you freaking have it.
The finances of it all.
Costs of a sustainable lifestyle (In Indianapolis):
$99 ($8.25/month to add curbside recycling)
$30 ($2.50/month for Green Power with IPL)
$15 (cute travel mug)
$14 (cute reusable water bottle)
$15 (set of reusable straws)
Total Cost: $173
Savings of a sustainable lifestyle:
$192 ($16/month if you make one meal meatless per week)
$2.60 (If you get Starbucks once a week and use your new travel mug)
$10.40 (if you use 4 grocery bags at Whole Foods per week)
Total Savings: $205
Total overall savings: $32
Our Kimono Blazer is made with organic cotton in the United States. Because we deeply care about our planet and the people who live in it.